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The Best Career Advice I’ve Gotten

Whenever I’m asked about career advice or talent acquisition, I like to share the best career advice I’ve ever gotten: “Look for interesting intersections.

One of my observations is that conversations about career development and talent acquisition are either picking a side (Generalist vs Specialist, Technical vs non-technical) or following an equation of success that’s made up. This leads to all kinds of challenges, including lack of Diversity & Inclusion.

Rather than get caught up in the process, think about what intersections excite you and what you can create in those spaces. In fact, my resume has gone from a chronological Word document into a Venn diagram of my areas of skills & passions. And I think this is going to become a more common orientation of talent hiring in the future, because you inherently start to conceptualize someone’s multi-dimensional portfolio of experiences and value proposition. Smack this on top of a personal purpose statement and you’re clear on who someone is and what they’re commited to building.

If you think in intersections, you can start to think about skills and value creation in interesting ways.

For example:

…the intersection of Brand and Business, which few companies do well…
…the intersection of Editorial and Engineering to create beautiful things…
…the intersection of Art and Science and all that can entail…
…the intersection of Purpose and Profit, which has tons of potential…
…the intersection of Regulation and Freedom of Expression, which feels off-balance right now…

And perhaps as an additional thought, in addition to pursuing intersections, I believe we’re entering era where we need better integration of things on different extremes (e.g. Technology x Health). That’s a whole other blog post though. 😉

There are many existing frameworks for thinking about intersections out there. I’ve previously shared the Ikigai model as an example (below).


As an individual: If you apply skillsets (soft and hard) to this type of framework, you all of a sudden get clear on how you can market yourself with tangibility and how to explore career development experiences that align with intersections you’re interested in building for the long-haul.

As a company hiring: Beyond lengthy job descriptions and keyword matching, get clear on what skills gaps you have and what intersections you’re hiring for. There can be multiple permutations of course, and 1-2 dominant skillsets. But if you start to look at the strengths and skillsets of your current teams, you can make smarter hiring decisions to fill gaps and/or amplify common strengths that support the culture you’re trying to build. I believe this will help enrich the talent acquisition process, which today is still under significant optimization.

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